Online competition has grown exponentially over the past two years, driven by the coronavirus pandemic. Lockdowns and stay-at-home policies increased online shopping and changed consumer behavior for good, paving the way for numerous new eCommerce business owners.
If you’re either thinking about setting up your own eCommerce business or have already done so, that’s an excellent start. The next questions would be, how to perfect your digital marketing strategy for eCommerce, how to set up the perfect eCommerce customer service system, and how to promote your online store?
Firstly, let’s look at how innovation thrives in crisis and how the Covid-19 pandemic has created an opportunity for new eCommerce business opportunities.
What previous crises have taught us, innovation and entrepreneurship thrive during hardships. 71% of retail executives have said they believe a crisis can create significant momentum for new business opportunities, according to McKinsey’s research into Innovation in Crisis.
The financial crisis in 2008 was a catalyst for people out of jobs to create their opportunities. Companies like WhatsApp, Venmo, Instagram, Uber, and Groupon were founded between 2008 – 2010, driven by heightened consumer distrust.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, new shopping patterns have been at the forefront of changed consumer behavior. The new entrepreneurial wave seems to be driven by the shift to online, an opportunity for several new eCommerce businesses.
This guide will go through the leading digital marketing channels to leverage for a cohesive eCommerce marketing strategy.
E-commerce marketing is the use of digital marketing tactics to promote your online store. Leveraging digital marketing channels like social media, content marketing, email, mobile, and SMS marketing can help you grow your existing customer base and win over new customers, to increase traffic and conversions.
But which ones to focus on?
Suppose you are thinking about starting your eCommerce business or have already begun. In that case, this eCommerce marketing guide will help you define each channel and choose the best fit with your overarching business strategy.
If you are using hosted eCommerce platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, chances are you have already familiarized yourself with how these platforms work. For example, several free and paid Shopify apps can help you connect your store to social media platforms or help with email marketing.
Let’s define each digital marketing channel and its benefits to help you decide.
Social media marketing uses social media platforms to create exciting content, reflect the brand image from sharing imagery on your Instagram page, tweeting a contest via Twitter, or share video content on TikTok to engage consumers.
Influencer marketing is quickly becoming one of the most popular digital marketing strategies for eCommerce brands. Extreme growth from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $9.7 in 2020 is estimated to reach $13.8 billion by the end of 2021, found the Influencer Marketing Hub survey.
It is a strategy that you don’t want to miss and should consider.
Thanks to their social media marketing strategy, direct-to-consumer brands like GymShark, Glossier, or BarkBox have all achieved substantial success. Well-known brands like Nike and Adidas or online retailers Wayfair or Asos also excel in using social media marketing to their advantage and are an excellent example.
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Show brand image and values, brand storytelling, customer engagement, inform your customers, social listening, promotions, and offers, increase sales and customer base.
SMS marketing is when you communicate with your customers, both new and existing ones, through text messages. In marketing, it usually means distributing a product or delivery updates, promotions, or discount offers. Two-way SMS communication can even be used for customer service.
Even though not a fully digital channel, SMS marketing can be an excellent addition to a cohesive eCommerce marketing strategy. Text messages are a great way to reach a broad audience across different demographics.
For example, the direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand Dirty Lemon combines its social media marketing strategy directly with SMS marketing. Dirty Lemon sells flavored water to a particular target audience. They promote products through Instagram stories; however, they sell exclusively through SMS messages.
Distributing promotions, offers, discounts, short-term sales boost, product updates, new releases, customer retention, delivery updates, customer service.
As the name suggests, the pay-per-click advertising model is where marketers only pay each time their ad is clicked. Search engine marketing (SEM) is one of the most popular ways for PPC. It means bidding on a top keyword instead of optimizing the keywords organically.
For example, if someone searches for a popular keyword like “t-shirts,” they will see a sponsored ad by a marketer who bids on this keyword to show up first on the search engine results page (SERP’s). In recent years, the increased competition online has driven up the cost of PPC advertising.
Therefore, it is essential to know whether the ROI is high enough to balance money spent. If the click results in zero sales, you still have to pay the ad fee. The fact that your customer lands on your page don’t automatically mean sales.
Even though PPC is still one of the best ways to market your eCommerce business:
Taking Dirty Lemon as an example again, they poured most of their marketing budget, at times up to $30k a day, into paid Instagram ads and soon achieved wide recognition in the market. PPC isn’t just for large businesses and can be utilized by start-ups, but you do need a high budget for it!
Quick entry and quick, short-term results, audience targeting, retargeting, clear performance tracking metrics, easy to see if successful or not and adjust accordingly.
Once you set up your webshop, you will also want it to appear high in the search results.
SEO marketing is when keywords related to your business are optimized organically for your website to rank high in the SERPs to increase traffic. SEO differs from PPC as they can’t be paid for and always show up before organic results. Organic results use Google algorithms to rank the most relevant pages.
Search engine optimization and white-hat SEO tactics are more sustainable and long-term results-focused strategies. It isn’t perfect for seeing instant results and could take up to a year to start to take effect.
But, it is a more sustainable way. At the same time, PPC is only short-term, as your keywords are optimized as long as the ad is running. Once you have organically optimized your keywords, they will remain this way.
Increasing traffic to your store and increasing conversion rates improve customer experience, increase authority (organic search results have higher click rates), and achieve higher sales.
For eCommerce promotions and offers, email marketing can be a great help. Email campaigns are a series of emails that retailers use to reach out to potential new and existing customers using email marketing software. Content can be distributed in a newsletter or promotional emails, e.g., offering a discount code or limited-time deals.
Email marketing is still one of the most popular ways to update customers about new products, offers, and promotions. The aim is to spread the word, encourage traffic, and optimize your conversion marketing efforts.
By sending your customers a link to your shop and combining this with a discount offer, you can increase store traffic and conversions. For example, Uniqlo regularly uses email marketing via newsletters to let their customers know about new products or offer exclusive deals and discounts.
Distribute offers, promotions, deals, encourage sales, more traffic, higher conversion rates, sell more, nurture customer relationships, increase customer engagement and loyalty.
Content marketing is creating and distributing online material like video content, banners, social media content, or blog posts. This type of digital marketing isn’t intended for direct sales but to attract people to buy your products or services.
This type of marketing is essential in eCommerce, as you can show what your brand strategy and product are about. Brand image is so important nowadays to stand out from the competition. This can come across through creative and engaging content that reflects your company values.
White Claw, an alcoholic beverages brand, has positioned its brand through engaging video content posted on their social media pages, aimed at Millennials with high disposable income. Their social media content strategy paved the way for a so-called “White Claw Lifestyle” movement that helped their label reach the top and take a large chunk of the market share.
Brand storytelling, brand image, connection building with customers, customer loyalty and retention, customer engagement, sharing brand values, and gaining trust.
Social listening happens when a brand monitors its customers’ behavior across social media channels. It means tracking their comments, responses, clicks, tags, likes, or reactions to get a feeling and a better understanding of which posts and content they engage most with. Tools used are Brandwatch, Awario, or Mention, that track all mentions of your keywords.
This will enable marketers to make conclusions about improving their future content to increase conversion marketing efforts and engagement even more. For example, brands can use this information to discover what their audience is talking about and engage in the conversation.
Social listening allows brands to create campaigns that are explicitly designed to fit the thoughts and requests of their customers. For example, if customers of a denim brand are talking about a precise fit or wash jeans, they can add that new style to the range. They are specifically designed to the requirements of their audience.
Fitness watch brand Fitbit uses social listening to monitor any escalating issues with the products or customer service. By tracking customer comments via social media discussion, they can collect authentic feedback to make improvements.
Customer insights, product improvements, process improvements, customer engagement, customer feedback, product innovation.
With the rising online competition, it is getting harder and harder to stand out from the crowd. There are several ways to combine different digital marketing channels and also connecting them with offline marketing channels.
Deciding the proper channels for your business is critical. The one that resonates most with your audience engages them and keeps them returning to your store.
One of the most crucial aspects nowadays is brand image and storytelling. Combine your values and reflect these in your marketing campaigns. Brand storytelling remains at the forefront of a successful eCommerce brand.
You can run ongoing PPC campaigns and optimize your page, but conversion rates are likely to remain low without a compelling brand story and quality product. Leverage customer insights, know your audience, and show what your brand is about.
This post was last modified on Oct 15, 2021 19:51